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How Can You Tell If a Wine Glass Is of High Quality?

There are as many wine glasses as there are wine styles — there’s a glass for every wine at all prices and quality levels. 

If you have ever wondered why you can get wine glasses for a few dollars at retail stores while others cost several hundred, today we’re discussing wine glass quality. Concisely, fine stemware, like the one produced by Grassl Wine Glass, is hand-blown and made with premium materials, but what does this all mean? After all, stemware is a varied category. 

Let’s explore the realm of quality stemware and discover if you can tell if a wine glass is of high quality or not. What makes a good wine glass?

The History of Wine Glasses

To understand wine glasses, we must first understand their origins. People have been working with glass since 2000 BC, from Mesopotamia to the world. Although glass was first used to make sculptures and figurines, it began to be used to make vessels during the Roman Empire. Naturalist and wine critic Pliny the Elder talked about the qualities of glass vessels around 79 AD. 

Those who mastered the art of working with glass were the Venetians around 1400. They developed the first wine glasses with a base, a bowl, and a stem, and they even used transparent glass.

The Renaissance saw the birth of sophisticated, often highly decorated wine glasses, and by the 18th century, glassmakers had already discovered the virtues of crystal — glass with added minerals that strengthen the material. 

Mouth-blown glasses were the norm until someone discovered how to produce wine glasses industrially. Now, artisan stemware is rare, but it’s still considered of the highest quality. 

What Gives Quality to a Wine Glass?

High-quality stemware  varies in size and shape but has a few things in common.


Wine glasses made with clear, shiny crystal are better than opaque and cloudy ones. Noticeable imperfections, such as bubbles, also indicate lesser quality. The materials used to make the wine glasses determine their clarity, but so is the artist’s skill.

When tasting wine, visual clues are more important than one thinks. The wine’s color can hint at its concentration, alcohol, and age. Even if taken for granted, transparent crystal is an outstanding achievement for glass makers. 


Fine wine glasses are usually larger than standard multi-purpose ones, and it’s because wine needs to breathe. Larger bowls are a sign of quality, whether shaped as wide bowls or chimneys, and long stems are also naturally elegant. Still, larger also means heavier, and heavy stemware is not always ideal. 

Artisan glassware makers specializing in mouth-blown glasses know the difference between fine stemware and average wine glasses is not only its weight but the way it is distributed. The secret is balance. 

Even immense Bordeaux-style wine glasses with a 750ml capacity feel light when held by the stem. These art pieces might be large, but they’re lighter than their equivalents made of cheap glass. 


A third significant telltale of high-quality stemware is the thickness of the rim. Wine is meant to be sipped; the thinner the rim, the more pleasurable the experience. 

Thin rims prove that the wine glass is made with fine crystal, strong enough to be spun thinly. Glass stemware has thick edges, which take away from the pleasure of wine tasting. 

Nice wine glasses will always have a thin stem and rim, but this is more than aesthetics — it matters in terms of vinous enjoyment. Combined with the right weight, balance, and clarity, thinness is proof that you’re in the presence of stemware worthy of the finest wines in the world. 

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Machine Blown Vs. Hand-Blow: How To Tell the Difference

Here are five tips to know if you are holding a machine-blown wine glass or a handmade piece. 

  • Machine-blown stemware is cheaper to produce, and therefore it is less expensive than mouth-blown wine glasses.
  • Machine-blown stemware is often made with glass and not crystal. The material is less shiny and translucent. Glass wine glasses are also thicker. 
  • Hand-blown stemware has a lightweight feel and perfect balance. Machine-blown wine glasses might feel awkward. 
  • Handmade wine glasses are highly refractive and have a lovely ring to them. Industrially made stemware is clunky and won’t refract light intensely. 
  • Hand-blown stemware requires greater care and is harder to store than more robust, economical pieces. 

Try Grassl Glass Hand-Blown Glasses

Buy wine glasses online and enjoy high-quality stemware by Grassl Wine Glass. Thin wine glasses to satisfy your every wine-tasting need. Whether you entertain friends and family at wine dinners or enjoy opening a bottle of wine for your enjoyment, the proper stemware will enhance your experience beautifully. 

There is stemware for every occasion, budget, and need. Still, handmade wine glasses will always be the standard for fine wine, memorable occasions, and celebrations. Crystal stemware and fine wine are meant to be enjoyed together.

Nice wine glasses are an easy way of making your wine look, smell and taste better, and now that you know how to identify fine stemware, you can buy with confidence. 


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